The six castles of the fairy godmother

An allegory for sorority recruitment

Victoria Ernst, Staff Writer

Once upon a time, long ago in a faraway fairyland, a young girl from a once-aristocratic family lived with her brother and her mother. The girl’s father, a knight, had died many years prior in battle, putting the family out of noble public affairs. Her older brother, however, endured the six weeks of knightship and progressed in society as a result. Admiring her brother’s success, she longed to join a castle herself.
Six rival castles for noble women and 10 castles for noble men reigned the social affairs of the land. However, the nobles had little ruling power; they all were subordinate to King Dilliam Wudley. But to be a friend of a noble—or better yet, to become a noble—granted one prestige.
Each noble family of the castles had respectable reputations for their charitable deeds outside of the land (which quelled rumors of extravagant balls with indecent guests). The castles had seemingly decent relationships with one another; they lived in harmony as separate entities, though they displayed pride externally and internally.
Everyone longed to become a friend of a noble in hopes of social prestige and invitations to extravagant balls. Becoming a friend of the nobles was almost like becoming a family member, a sister or a brother. If a noble woman grew a liking for a villager- whether it was for their good character or appearance- after completing a long ritual and paying a sum of money, the villager could obtain an official title of “sister.”
The true teller of which castle a girl would find her home was the omniscient fairy godmother. No one had ever seen her; she lived alone in the clouds with subordinate fairies, though the subordinate fairies had never actually seen her. Her power extended through all skies and through all lands. She regulated formal assignment for every castle in the world.
The fairies reported back to her during the formal assignment to castles, which took place annually in January. Fairies served as the bridge of communication between PNNs, or potential new nobles, and noblewomen. They had no influence on where the PNNs would become sisters. No one understood what happened in the clouds. Only the enigma of the fairy godmother was known.
It was the end of summer. Propaganda posters from each castle appeared outside every pub, bakery and small shop in town. Castle women began their ventures to town in search of new sisters. Some nobles had connections with PNNs from family relations or geographic proximity. Others met them at “Know the Nobles” events, where villagers had the opportunity to meet the women.
Villagers could always spot a noble and PNN in public, especially in September, when many were meeting each other for the first time by their interactions. PNNs either expressed inflated jubilation or awkward submission when faced with small talk. But as winter approached, the conversations seemed less like interviews and more natural, sometimes even secretive.
The young girl had planned to attend Know the Nobles, but she fell ill from the Rat Flu for several months. She had no way of knowing any of the nobles, besides that her brother was a knight. Perhaps she would get lucky and her name would somehow be known.
It was now January, and fairies would soon take the PNNs to each castle for formal sister assignment. The event lasted three days; on day one, each PNN would visit all six castles. The noblewomen would talk to several women of each castle and rank them at the end of the day. The castle members would also rank the PNNs and give them to the fairies, who brought them to the fairy godmother.
The fairy godmother would return them to the ground the next day, listing four castles that each PNN would visit on the second day, followed by one or two on the final.
On the first day of formal assignment, the girl wore her embroidered gown, large pearls and most embellished shoes, thinking that her appearance would put her in favor with the castle women. Perhaps in other lands, where informal assignments did not exist, her outfit would have helped, but in this fairyland it didn’t matter. She was too far gone without prior connections.
The girl had the same shallow conversation- talking about their villages and favorite activities- with three members of all six castles. None were exceedingly pleasant or horrific; it was monotonous, and in her case, futile. She ranked the castles on her card, gave them to the fairy, and waited for her return castles.
On the second day, the girl wore an even prettier gown, with even larger pearls and more sparkly shoes, again thinking that her appearance would impress the noblewomen. She returned to four castles, over which she had no preference, because she didn’t really know any of the noblewomen.
She again had the same conversations with the different nobles. She had a wonderful conversation with a noblewoman at the diamond castle; she hoped she would become their sister. At the end of the day, she ranked her two favorite castles, and she gave her card to a fairy.
All the fairies brought the cards from each PNN and castle to the fairy godmother. The fairy godmother read each carefully and returned the final cards the next day.
The girl was shocked. She thought she swooned the noblewomen of the diamond castle, but she was not invited back. The nobles of that castle were surprised too, as they ranked the girl highly.
Nonetheless, the girl found her home at the other castle. It was what the fairy godmother wanted. No one could defy her judgment.
The girl lived almost happily ever after in the castle with her noble sisters. She made lasting friendships and meaningful connections. But sometimes when she laid in bed at night, she wondered if she would be happier in the diamond castle. But there was no use in contemplatio—the fairy godmother’s decree could not be overturned. It was best to believe that the fairy godmother knew best.